8th May 2023

Stepping Stone 03 Diversity, equality, and inclusion (DEI)


As per the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), “equality is about ensuring equality of access, treatment, outcomes and impact in both employment and service delivery. It is rooted in ideas of justice and fairness and enshrined in the UK Equality Act 2010 which highlights that every individual must have an equal opportunity to make the most of their lives and talents. It is also the belief that no one should have poorer life chances because of their background, personal identity or experience.”

So, when making business decisions, it is our duty to take into account the need to:

  • eliminate discrimination, harassment, and victimisation
  • advance equality of opportunity
  • foster good relations between different parts of the community

The Equality Act protects people against discrimination on the grounds of protected characteristics like:

  • age
  • disability
  • gender reassignment
  • marriage and civil partnership
  • pregnancy and maternity
  • race
  • religion or belief
  • sex
  • sexual orientation

Diversity recognises that everyone is different and that those differences are to be recognised, respected, valued, promoted and celebrated. They may include but are not limited to the above differences protected by the Equality Act.


As per a 2017 research promoted by Forbes,

diverse workforces are advantageous for decision making, innovation and

problem solving as different people bring a diverse range

of backgrounds and experiences with them. Key findings of this research are:

1. Inclusive teams make better business decisions up to 87% of the time

2. Teams that follow an inclusive process make decisions twice faster with half the meetings

Decisions made and executed by diverse teams delivered 60% better results.

However, it is important to note that just having a diverse workforce is not enough – people need to feel included, i.e., have a sense of belonging, and feel safe to contribute their views and to achieve their full potential. CIPD defines inclusion as “the practice of including people in a way that is fair for all, values everyone’s differences, and empowers and enables each person to be themselves and achieve their full potential and thrive at work.”

Actions that can be taken to integrate DEI into your businesses

  1. To start with, members would find it useful to have documented policies and procedures that promote diversity, equality, and inclusion at the workplace. These will protect employees and the members from unfair treatment and claims involving discrimination. Some of the policies to be looked at, could be:
    • DEI policy (workplace harassment and dignity)
    • Hiring policy (Equal opportunities)
    • Grievance policy or procedure
    • Whistle-blower protection policy
    • Leaving policy
  2. Consider establishing a baseline of KPIs identified
  3. Building on this foundation, members are recommended to identify gap areas in diversity, equality, and inclusion, using KPIs they have identified. Employee engagement surveys or consultations may be planned to assess gaps. Key considerations: achievers.com/blog/employee-engagement-survey-questions/
  4. The gap assessment should cover aspects of business like the following, and once gaps are identified, members can dedicate resources to work on these gaps identified.
    • hiring and exits
    • current mix of management/employees/board
    • learning and development
    • remunerations at all levels
    • leadership engagement on DEI
    • inclusion of employees (and grievance procedures)
  5. Diversity, equity and inclusion trainings are good to put policies and procedures into practical and relevant scenarios
  6. It is a sensitive area of HR with complex legal obligations. So, taking professional advice is recommended if you are not sure on DEI integration

Key KPIs to adopt

  1. Percentage of individuals within the firm’s governance bodies and at each employee category or level, in each of the following diversity categories:
    • Age group: under 30 years old, 30-50 years old, over 50 years old
    • Gender
    • Other indicators of diversity where relevant (such as ethnicity and sexual orientation)
  2. Ratio of the basic salary and total remuneration of women to men for each employee category (gender pay gap)
  3. Total number of incidents of discrimination, nature of incidents and actions taken by the member. Refer GRI 406 standard for more details.

Further reading and reference




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